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Liam’s Custom Specialized S-Works Aethos - Staff Bikes

We're taking a closer look at the bikes which we actually own. Kicking us off is Liam and his lightweight climbing bike

In a new series over on our YouTube channel, we’re bringing you a look at some of the bikes that belong to those of us that contribute to your favourite cycling website. This time, it’s my turn, with this rather new and shiny Specialized S-Works Aethos.

While I’ve always dabbled in a bit of road racing, the crazy speeds and more demanding work life mean that I’m going to be giving some off-road events a go next year and my road riding will be fully focused on fun. I took this as the perfect opportunity to swap my frameset away from something aero and to take things back to what I really like: low weight, comfort and handling.

Liam's S-Works Aethos 6

Step forward the Specialized Aethos. I reviewed this thing in the Pro model and I was rather smitten. The ride is sublime, the weight for a disc brake road bike is very good, and after working on so many integrated front ends, I really love the exposed brake hoses.

Ok, so I might lose 1w for the cables and 7-10 watts™ for the lack of aero tube shapes. But there is more to bikes than going fast. 

Liam's S-Works Aethos 5

The S-Works frameset is the only model that you can get in the UK, so while I see no point in paying S-Works prices for the minor weight saving and 'better' carbon, my hands were a bit tied. This dusty blue was the only colour in stock in my size, but I’m not one for dull paint, so I was quite happy that it was the option I could get hold of. 

Liam's S-Works Aethos 4

Seeing it in the flesh, however, has left me a little underwhelmed. It is a matte finish, which I hate as it shows every little bit of dirt and fingerprints. I’ll be getting the frame resprayed soon, possibly over the winter, but I haven’t decided what colour to go for yet. Let me know if you have any ideas.

Liam's S-Works Aethos 2

The groupset is Shimano’s latest R8100 Di2 stuff which will be sticking around for a longer-term review. As you can see, I’ve been busy crashing it.

> Review: Shimano Ultegra R8100 Groupset

Liam's S-Works Aethos 1

The chainrings are 52/36, the cassette is an 11-30T, cranks are 170mm long, and I run 140/160mm rotors.

Liam's S-Works Aethos 8

The wheels are the Roval Alpinist CLX II. These are tubeless-ready, but I wanted to use Vittoria’s Corsa G2.0 tyres with the beautiful tan sidewalls, so I’ve got some latex inner tubes in there. The tyres are 28mm because it is quite nice to feel like you’re floating over the broken roads.

> Review: Roval Alpinist CLX II 

An S-Works Romin Evo saddle sits atop the Alpinist seatpost. I’ve crashed it twice now, whoops, so the base is held together by some top-quality epoxy work.

Liam's S-Works Aethos 3

The stem is a Pro Vibe Carbon in a 130mm length. It holds, with the help of a lot of fibre grip, a Pro Vibe Carbon bar in a 400mm width. The out front mount came from Alibaba and the bar tape is from Prime. 

> Review: Prime Comfort Bar Tape

And yes, as soon as parts become available, I’ll be replacing the torn shifter hoods.

Add new comment


aptek | 1 year ago


Can I ask where you were thinking of getting the bike resprayed. Sounds interesting to get a custom painted bike.

Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago

Why the long stem Liam?

AlsoSomniloquism replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago

He mentions in the video that it is a smaller bike then recommended for his height so I assume extra length will allow him to get lower on descents etc. 

Liam Cahill replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago

I've just always prefered the feel of a smaller frame. My position on the bike is also quite low, so the smaller head tube helps

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